Headstands – Pippa’s Nemesis!

At the start of 2016 my wonderful teacher Diana Malone carried out a series of classes to build her pupils up to headstand.

We began with dolphin which, when I first started yoga, I HATED, but it is a great exercise to build strength in the shoulders and to get used to having your body in an inverted position. The next step is to be in dolphin and practice walking your feet towards your elbows. Once you feel “comfortable” doing this you walk the toes so far that you feel a sense of weightlessness, this means you can tuck your heels into your bum and lift your knees to find yourself in half-headstand. From here the final hurdle is to straighten the legs to the full expression of the pose.

So easy to type but so difficult to do! With this posture it’s as much about the mental barrier as having the strength and I had a massive barrier, namely, fear.

I did make my way up to headstand with Diana but it was with the support of a wall. When I tried to practice the pose at home I didn’t have much luck and once I had to call Adam to come and help me down because I’d got stuck!

The downside of practicing against a wall is that your legs rest against the wall and your core switches off. This makes it difficult to come down safely and prevents you building up muscle memory.

When Daisy and I travelled to India for our 200 hour training course, headstands were the peak pose incorporated into our morning AND afternoon classes. I had no choice; I had to face my fear!

Day by day I increased my strength and confidence and with the support of our fantastic teachers, Padma and Jinu, along with the encouragement of my fellow students, by the 10th day I was up in headstand in both the classes.

Now I am back in the UK and I don’t have the luxury of practicing 6 hours of yoga a day I have frustratingly lost my confidence… again! So, to overcome this I am going to task myself to include it in my daily practice… I’ll keep you posted!

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